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Support builds in Ottawa for the Artist’s Resale Right

Ottawa, Thursday, May 30, 2013 – Support across parties is building in Ottawa for the Artist’s Resale Right. NDP MP Pierre Nantel recently put a motion on the Order Paper of the House of Commons supporting the Artist’s Resale Right and Liberal MP Scott Simms introduced a private member’s bill yesterday. Some Conservative Members of Parliament have expressed their support to CARFAC for visual artists and the concept of the Artist’s Resale Right. These include Gerald Keddy, Member of Parliament for South Shore – St. Margaret’s.

The Artist’s Resale Right will give artists 5% from the resale of their work through auction houses and commercial galleries. It is common for visual art to appreciate in value over time, as the reputation of the artist grows. For example, acclaimed Montreal artist Marcel Barbeau gave a painting to a friend in the 1950s which resold in 2008 for $75,000. Barbeau didn’t receive a penny from this sale.

“There’s support from all over Canada, from North to South, to make sure Canadian artists can benefit from the resale of their works here and abroad,” said Nantel. “Now we also have the support from MPs from across the political spectrum. Artist’s Resale Right exists in dozens of countries like France, the UK and Australia: now’s the time to make it a reality in Canada.”

“At least 69 nations now provide compensation to artists as their works are sold,” said Mr. Simms. “Sadly, Canada has no regime in place to provide fair compensation for Canadian artists and it is now time that we take our place. Like most other occupations, it is time for our artists to receive recognition for their vision, hard work, and dedication to their craft.

At the same time, support has been building among art market professionals. Earlier this month, Ritchies auction house announced that they would voluntarily pay the Artist’s Resale Right starting with the inaugural Project Contemporalis in May.

“Auction houses have been profiting from the works of great Canadian artists without giving anything back for far too long,” said Gordon Gothreau, head of Ritchies contemporary art department. “Canada must do more to protect its artists — granting artists resale rights is the first step on a long road.”

About the Artist’s Resale Right

The Artist’s Resale Right was first introduced in France in 1920. It has since spread to at least 69 countries world-wide, including the entire European Union. Initially, art market professionals in Europe were concerned about the impact on the art market but a 2011 study found that in the same period that the EU implemented the Artist’s Resale Right, the art and antiques market rose by 13%, and that auction sales of living artists grew by 136%. Moreover, revenues from contemporary art sales in London has increased by approximately 23% per year over the last three years, despite the recession and introduction of the ARR.

Aboriginal artists in particular have much to gain from sharing in the tremendous profits made on their work in the secondary market. Many artists living in isolated northern communities live in impoverished conditions, while their work dramatically increases in value. Between 2010 and 2012, $360,000 was paid to Indigenous artists in Australia, who received 60% of ARR payments.

Comments from Canadian Art Dealers and Collectors

Recent resales and comments from the artists

For more information contact:

Melissa Gruber
Advocacy and Communications Director, CARFAC National
Phone: 613-233-6161, Cell: 613-791-6411